BC-Business News Digest


Associated Press

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 13 at 2:30 PM

Business News at 5 p.m.

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Here's an unsettling fact about cars equipped with air bags: they might not deploy when drivers — or regulators — expect them to. In looking at crashes involving older General Motors small cars where 13 people were killed, safety regulators were surprised to find that the cars' air bags failed to work after the ignition switch unexpectedly moved out of the run position and the engine stalled. As safety officials scramble to learn how automakers program the air bags to act in various situations, drivers would be wise not to assume the bags will work anytime their car is involved in an accident. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 920 words, photos.


— GENERAL MOTORS-RECALL-AIR BAGS-GLANCE — Some important facts about air bags. SENT: 390 words.


AMSTERDAM — Google and other search engines are being thrust into an unwanted new role — caretaker of people's reputations — after Europe's highest court rules that individuals should have some say over what information pops up when their name is Googled. By Toby Sterling. SENT: 1,000 words, photo, video.


— EUROPEAN COURT-GOOGLE-Q&A — Here are a few questions and answers about the decision and its potential impact. SENT: 490 words.


WASHINGTON — A bill to renew more than 50 expired tax breaks for businesses and individuals clears a key hurdle in the Senate. Some benefit millions, such as a sales tax deduction for people who live in states without an income tax and a business tax credit for investing in research and development. Others are tailored to more narrow interests — film producers, NASCAR race track owners and manufacturers of electric motorcycles. SENT: 650 words, photos.


— TAX BREAKS-LIST — Some of the key tax breaks, with the amount taxpayers would save over the next decade. SENT: 390 words.


NEW YORK — What a grind. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is flirting with a new milestone: 1,900. But in the six months since crossing the last big marker of 1,800, the stock market has changed in tone. Instead of surging ahead like in November, stocks are nudging higher. Instead of a hot-growth industry like biotechnology spearheading a rally, a dividend-rich, stable sector — utilities — is leading the market's slight rise. By Steve Rothwell. SENT: 400 words. UPCOMING: 650 words by 5:30 p.m. photos.


NEW YORK — It's official: This winter was the worst for fliers in the 20 years that the government has been collecting data. During the first three months of this year, U.S. airlines canceled 4.6 percent of their flights, the Department of Transportation announces. SENT: 320 words.



WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales growth slows in April, with consumers shopping less online and cutting back on purchases of furniture and electronics. The Commerce Department says seasonally adjusted retail sales rose just 0.1 percent after surging 1.5 percent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping. Economists said the April figures might have been depressed because of seasonal adjustments connected to a later than usual Easter. Still, the modest sales suggest that consumers may remain cautious during the still-slow economic recovery. SENT: 530 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in March, and sales increased by the largest amount in 10 months. By Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 310 words, photo.


BEIJING — The U.S. treasury secretary pressed China to ease exchange rate controls and lower barriers to trade and investment. Beijing in March widened the narrow band in which it allows its yuan to fluctuate against the U.S. dollar. But it retained controls that critics complain keep the yuan undervalued and give its exporters an unfair price advantage. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 510 words, photo.

— OIL PRICES — The price of oil rises as traders anticipate a report showing another decline in U.S. supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude for June delivery gained $1.11 to $101.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since April 24. SENT: 250 words.

— IRS-TAX CREDITS — The Internal Revenue Service paid more than $13 billion in tax credits last year to people who may not have qualified, a government investigator says. SENT: 400 words.



LONDON — British lawmakers press the chief executive of Pfizer to guarantee jobs should the American company succeed in taking over London-based AstraZeneca, prodding him on whether he could be trusted to honor promises made as part of the bid. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 560 words, photos.


— ALLERGAN-VALEANT — Valeant Pharmaceuticals says it will upgrade its unsolicited bid to buy specialty drugmaker Allergan for nearly $46 billion, and it wants to tell Allergan shareholders why it offers the better deal. SENT: 140 words.


WASHINGTON — Seeking to boost exports, the Obama administration is launching a new initiative aimed at helping small- and medium-sized businesses sell their products in new markets overseas. The effort focuses in part on helping business get capital in a lending market that remains tight and streamlining federal export requirements to make it faster and cheaper for companies to send their goods overseas. SENT: 320 words.

— MORTGAGE GIANTS-REGULATOR — The regulator overseeing government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announces a policy that could make more loan money available to borrowers. SENT: 570 words.

— MINE ACCIDENT-WEST VIRGINIA — State and federal officials say two workers who were trapped when the ground failed at a West Virginia mine with a history of safety violations have died. SENT: 720 words.

— CANADA-TRAIN DERAILMENT — Three railway employees arrested in the runaway oil train explosion that killed 47 people are arraigned and released on bail. They face criminal negligence charges in the small Quebec town that was devastated by the horrific inferno, which led to calls for making oil trains safer across North America. SENT: 680 words, photos.

— VOLKSWAGEN-SCANIA — German automaker Volkswagen AG has enough shares to take complete ownership of Swedish truck-maker Scania and move ahead with integrating its commercial vehicle business. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— SENATE-KEYSTONE PIPELINE — Supporters of a popular energy savings bill and the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline say they will keep trying to force Senate action on the measures, even after they were defeated amid partisan gridlock in the Senate. SENT: 850 words, photos.

— SMALLBIZ-PULSE — Small business owners are keeping a cautious approach to running their companies even as they grow more optimistic. Two surveys, one by Wells Fargo & Co. and the other by Bank of America Corp., found many owners still have conservative hiring plans and little appetite for loans. SENT: 460 words.

— MADOFF-VICTIMS FUND — Officials say the number of victims seeking relief for fraud committed by Madoff Securities is much larger — and with much larger losses — than previously thought. SENT: 280 words.

— SALLIE MAE-SETTLEMENT — Student lender Sallie Mae agrees to pay $60 million to resolve allegations that it charged military service members excessive interest rates on their student loans. SENT: 240 words.

— ARENA FOOTBALL-AFL-CIO — The Arena Football League Players Union is affiliating with the AFL-CIO. The labor union is announcing that the link-up follows a unanimous vote by the league's Board of Player Representatives. SENT: 120 words.


— FRANCE-EARNS-AIRBUS — Airbus Group says orders for its jets slumped in the first quarter, but profits rose and it hopes to put its A350 long-range jet into service by the end of the year. SENT: 230 words.



SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court indicates that the bitter legal tussle between business software maker Oracle Corp. and rival SAP over a jury's $1.3 billion copyright infringement verdict should head back to a trial court for more litigation. By Paul Elias. SENT: 400 words.

— MICROSOFT-XBOX — In a move to spur sales of the Xbox One and catch up with rival Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft Corp. says it will start selling the console without the Kinect sensor, which cuts $100 from the price. SENT: 270 words.

— INDONESIA-BLACKBERRY — BlackBerry launches a new lower-cost smartphone designed specifically for Indonesia, where its market share has plunged in recent years but remains higher than in many other nations. SENT: 150 words.

— UNITED NATIONS-KILLER ROBOTS — Diplomats are urging new international laws to govern the use of "killer robots" if the technology becomes reality someday. SENT: 270 words.

— INDONESIA-VIMEO BANNED — Indonesia bans a popular video sharing site Vimeo, saying it contains what it calls "pornographic material in form of nudity." SENT: 340 words.

— BRITAIN-GCHQ HACKING LAWSUIT — A rights group is suing Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping agency over cyberattacks revealed by former intelligence worker Edward Snowden, saying it's the first time the agency has been sued over hacking. SENT: 150 words.

— TIME-LIFE BOOKS-RELAUNCH — Time Home Entertainment says it is relaunching its Time-Life Books brand, long a staple of late-night TV advertisements, and will sell them in stores instead of by mail. SENT: 110 words.



CANBERRA, Australia — Australia's government says it will nearly halve its fiscal deficit as part of a tough budget that includes tax hikes, less welfare and the layoff of more than 16,000 state employees. The financial blueprint for the fiscal year starting July 1 is forecast to reduce the budget deficit to 29.8 billion Australia dollars ($27.8 billion) from AU$49.9 billion in the current fiscal year. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 710 words, photo.

— GERMANY-ECONOMY — A German survey of investment professionals has found that optimism fell in May for the fifth month in a row, a sign that growth in Europe's biggest economy may be slowing. SENT: 130 words.

— SOUTH AFRICA-MINE STRIKE — Tension is rising in South Africa's platinum mine sector, where police are struggling to keep order after three miners working in defiance of a strike were killed in separate incidents. SENT: 260 words.

— VIETNAM-CHINA-PROTESTS — Several thousand Vietnamese workers protest at Chinese-owned factories, vandalizing some of them, as anger flares at Beijing's deployment of an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam. SENT: 280 words.

— INDIA-ELECTIONS-MARKETS — India's stock market and currency rally on exit polls predicting election victory for a pro-business party and its allies. SENT: 250 word, photos.

— MALAYSIA-AIRASIA-PASSPORT CHECKS — Top Asian budget carrier AirAsia says it will become the world's first airline to check passports of all its passengers against Interpol's database of 42 million stolen or lost travel documents by the end of this month. SENT: 370 words.

— ITALY-CORRUPTION — Italy's premier says work on the 2015 World Expo in Milan will continue despite a corruption scandal that echoes the vast 1990s "Kickback City" scandals which toppled Italy's postwar political order. SENT: 550 words.

— F1-ECCLESTONE TRIAL — A German banker tells a Munich court that he accepted a multi-million dollar bribe from Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to facilitate a business deal. SENT: 140 words, photos.

— EUROPE-UKRAINE — Ukraine's prime minister and European Union officials sign a deal for 1 billion euro ($1.37 billion) in EU aid for Kiev's beleaguered government as well as for assistance to help build Ukrainian institutions. SENT: 140 words, photos.

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Sticking with China

U.S. companies are taking the long view of China. The world's second-largest economy has slowed this year, cutting into the revenue of companies across several industries. Despite the current struggles in China, Brazil and other emerging markets, economists say those economies will generate some of the world's strongest growth over the long term. Here's what some companies have been saying this earnings reporting season. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.


Elizabeth Arden plunges

Elizabeth Arden reported a loss of 89 cents per share after the market closed Monday, and investors fled. Shares of the beauty products company plummeted on Tuesday. UPCOMING: Graphic expected by 6 p.m.